The ACI sisters of Loyola community are working hand in hand with the people in different areas of Kaingin II. The Gubat area, where some migrants are living is the worst area: a poor environment and poverty conditions. The families are barely surviving from day to day. The Covid-19 pandemic worsens the situation of the people. Many parents have lost their jobs, children don’t go to school, their health is poor, there is malnutrition, and other conditions that threaten every aspect of human life.

Seeing these realities opened our eyes to try to accompany these poor migrants in their struggles, to hear their cries and their needs, to empower and bring out the best in them, despite their situation, and journey with them in their search for justice.

As our response, the Santa. Rafaela Maria Learning Center for children was opened last November 12, 2021 and most of the enrolled children are from Gubat area. Our early childhood education center is committed to providing them with an adequate, good program, which includes everything for all levels of the development of the child: their social, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual needs. We also provided the children with healthy but simple food, which facilitates healthy growth and development. We work with teachers, parents and Aci family volunteers as our partners for the benefit of the children. We believe that each child is very important and needs our attention and respect.

Last October 2021, we also opened the Santa Rafaela Maria Mission Center and Dispensary for malnourished children, PWD, and Senior citizens who are still often regarded as objects of pity in mainstream society. We tried our best to improve access to quality, affordable health care services and to respond to their health care needs. We serve them with compassion and dignity, give them holistic treatment and listen to their feelings carefully. We appreciate the cooperation of different volunteers in taking care of the health of the people and bringing love and dignity to them.

My encounter with the migrants in depressed places in our mission areas made me realize the evangelizing power of the poor. In them I see hope, joy, gratitude and faith in God despite their struggles and difficulties. Everyone is poor, in the sense that everyone needs to be connected with God, who is the source of everything. Each one of us has something to give and each one of us has needs to be fulfilled. As in breathing, we take in and we give out. We need to recognize ourselves as part of the whole body of Jesus, the church, which is a church of the poor. We allow ourselves to be immersed in our reality and to be transformed to have a heart like Jesus, a heart for the poor. We are also invited to make our lives a witness of what the kingdom of God is all about.

Ma. Lani M. Saligumba, aci